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`Strike 3, you’re out!’ means new digs for S. Utah prairie dogs

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Division of Wildlife Resources biologists have taken more than 50 Utah prairie dogs from city baseball parks to their new home on public land about 30 miles northwest of the city.

The Utah prairie dog is protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The transplantation is being carried out under a habitat conservation plan Iron County worked with the DWR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.Deborah O'Neil, DWR conservation biologist, said prairie dogs moved from the ballparks to the Adams Well site are in for some changes.

"It will be a lot different for them," she said. "At the ballparks, there is not a lot of variety, but there is plenty to eat. It's not as nutritious for them (at the ballparks). Out here there is a little more variety and this is their natural food, so we are hoping it will be a little better."

Thursday, 19 animals were caught. Most were captured in the baseball fields, and a few came from a private development.

Once the animals are trapped, flea powder is placed on their coats since fleas can carry plague.

"The plague can wipe out a whole colony in 48 hours," O'Neil said.